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Jewish Families of Konin

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  • Moshe Festenberg (1897 - 1974)
  • Rev Haim Wasserzug (1823 - 1882)
    See - A musical dynasty - page 3 First Reader of the North London Synagogue Death recorded JC obituary 1 September 1882 Hiam Wasserzug England & Wales, Death Index, 1837-2005 Death date: July-...
  • Hersz Mamelok (1850 - 1929)
  • Abram Albert Mamelok (1843 - 1913)
    Updated from WikiTree Genealogy by SmartCopy : Jul 6 2015, 10:40:15 UTC
  • Nachum Festenberg (1899 - 1975)
    A letter in the Jewish Chronicle, London, May 20 1930THE REVISIONISTS' SECESSIONThe Rev. J. K. Goldbloom, in a sermon which he preached the other day at Montague Road Beth Hamedrash, deplored the fact ...


City in central Poland about two-thirds of the way on the east–west route from Warsaw to Poznań. The Jews of Konin probably arrived from Poznań and Kalisz (about 50 km due south of Konin) and are first mentioned in a Polish court record of 1397. The community gained full autonomy from Kalisz in 1810. It is likely that a Jewish burial ground existed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, though the town’s “old” cemetery was first used in the eighteenth century. The Jewish population had reached 180 in the fifteenth century, but destruction by the Swedes (in 1656 and 1707) and plague (especially during the cholera epidemics of 1628–1631 and 1662) kept the numbers of inhabitants lower. It was estimated that 168 Jews lived in Konin in 1764–1765 (making up 24% of the town’s population); by 1827, the numbers had grown to 872 (24.4%) and in 1897 to 2,482 (31.7%). In 1939, it was approximately 3,000 (23%).

Konin was under Prussian rule from 1793 to 1807. French administration followed until Russian rule took over in 1815. Thereafter until 1919, Konin lay close to the Prussian frontier. Situated on the Warta River, the mainstay of the town’s economy, it was an entrepôt for goods from Germany to Poland. The staples of this trade were spices, silk, and cloth products, as well as ironware and salt. Timber and untreated fur were major exports. Jews working in Konin played a major role, especially in the export of agricultural products, though the mass of Jews were artisans and small-scale traders.

From 1810, the town had a rabbi, R' Zvi Hirsch Amsterdam, A.B.D. Konin, a main synagogue (Groyser Shul), and a smaller besmedresh (study house) containing a Hasidic shtibl (house of prayer). Haskalah influence was increasingly felt and Konin’s Jewish secular lending library was one of the largest of such institutions in Poland. A Russian elementary school was established before 1914 and in 1918 a Polish state elementary school, which a large number of Jewish children attended. A Jewish gymnasium existed from 1918 to 1929 (Prof. Leopold Infeld, the eminent physicist, was one of its headmasters). There was also an ORT (trade) school and a Jewish elementary school. Apart from the usual heders, there were two religious schools for boys and one for girls.

[After Amsterdam's death in 1849 the rabbinate was next occupied by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Auerbach, ABD Lissa, Konin until his death in 1883. In 1884 Rabbi Zvi Hersz Bierzynski, Rabbi of Wyszogrod, Dobrin and Konin was appointed rabbi, he served until his death in 1905 and from 1906, R' Jacob Libshitz, A.B.D. Talsen and then Konin held the position until the end of the community in the Second World War].

German occupying forces of 1914–1918 appointed Konin’s only Jewish mayor, Bernard Dancyger, and allowed a range of political activities that had been banned by the Russians. In independent Poland, Jewish political activity, both Zionist and non-Zionist, flourished. The process of secularization continued through education, theatrical and musical presentations, and Jewish sport organizations. In the 1930s, the town’s economy declined, and many left. Extreme Polish nationalism, mostly from outside, undermined intercommunal harmony, and economic conditions for Jews rapidly worsened.

German troops entered Konin on 14 September 1939, the morning of Rosh Hashanah, and drove [the town Rabbi] R' Jacob Libshitz, A.B.D. Talsen and then Konin and the other worshipers out of the synagogue. In December 1939, the deportation of Konin’s Jews began, to Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski (south of Radom) and Jósefów Biłgorajski (between Lublin and Lwów). By July 1940, the town was Judenrein. Virtually all of the Jews in Jósefów were massacred in July 1942 and the Jews of Ostrowiec were deported to Treblinka in October 1942. Just after the war, 46 Jews returned to Konin, but it rapidly became clear to them that the community had no future, and by 1965 there were only 2 Jews left. The synagogue, vandalized by the Germans, was finely restored after the war, and is now used as a public library.

Suggested Reading:

Mendel Gelbart, ed., Kehilat Konin: Bi-Feriḥatah uve-ḥurbanah (Tel Aviv, 1968); “Konin,” in Pinkas ha-kehilot. Polin, ed. Danuta Dąbrowska and Abraham Wein, vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1976), also available at JewishGen; Theo Richmond, Konin: A Quest (London, 1995).

Source: YIVO - Edited by Private User

See also: Wikipedia

"'Konin: One Man's Quest for a Vanished Jewish Community" by Theo Richmond - NYTimes

From the International Jewish Cemetery Project:

"Alternate names: Konin [Pol, Yid, Rus]. Конин [Rus], קונין-Yiddish. 52°13' N, 18°16' E, 33 miles NNE of Kalisz, 55 miles WNW of Łódź. 1900 Jewish population: 2,482. Yizkors: Kehilat Konin be-ferihata u-ve-hurbana and Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland vol. 1: The communities of Lodz and its region (Jerusalem, 1976). This town on the Warta river in central Poland with 81,233 inhabitants in 2006 is the capital of Konin County. Since 1999, it has been in the Greater Poland Voivodeship since 1999 and was in Konin Voivodeship (1975-1998). Konin Region: The Rememberance Foundation of Poland convinced regional authorities to make bronze plaques with the inscription in Polish stating that a Jewish Cemetery had existed and place them in 12 locations. Jews represented 30% of Konin's population prior to WWII. A descendant of Konin Jews, Theo Richmond an extensive history of Konin Jewish life. The majority of Konin Jews were Mitnagdim, although small communities of Gerer and Aleksander Hasidim lived within Konin. Source: U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. Map. synagogue sketch. synagogue photo. one gravestone photo. MUSEUM: Muzeum Okręgowe w Koninie. 62-505 Konin ul. Muzealna 6. Poland. Tel: +48 63 2427599 Fax: +48 63 2427431. [June 2009]

BOOK:Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 76

BOOK: Richmond,Theo. Konin: One Man's Quest for a Vanished Jewish Community. Vintage Books. 1996.

BOOK: Aaronson, Rabbi Yehoshua Moshe. Alei Merorot (Leaves of Bitterness). Self-published, B'nei Brak, Israel, 1996.

Ada Holtzman website 1 and website 2.

MASS GRAVE: Mass grave of Jews within the Catholic cemetery, victims of the CZARKOW (Konin) Forced Labour Nazi Camp (victims list and photo of proposed memorial with details about its creation). [June 2009]

US Commission No. POCE0000693

Konin is located in voievodship of Konin, 100 km from Poznan, 200 km from Warszawa at Lat 52.2167 Long 18.2667. Cemetery: on ul. Nadrzeczna. Present population is 25,00-100,00 with no Jews.

Local: (Mayor) Marek Paszkowiak, Urzad Miasta, ul. Przyjazni, tel. 42 39 99. Irena Sobierajska, PSOZ Konin. Interested: The Museum Okreagowe and Panstwowe Archives, Konin. The earliest Jewish community was end of the 17th century. 1931 Jewish population was 2,800. Living here were the families Leszcsynski and Lipszyc. Leopold Infeld taught in the Jewish high school for some years. The cemetery was established in 1831 with the last Orthodox (Sephardic) or Reform burial in 1939. The isolated suburban crown of a hill has no sign or marker, no wall or fence. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all. The size is 1.2 hectares. It was 1.5 hectares before WWII. No gravestones are visible. The stones removed were most probably used for paving Buczka Street. [Street name may have been changed.] The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. Near the cemetery is the wooden house of the cemetery guard. A monument to Holocaust victims was established in 1959. Municipality owns property used for recreation. Adjacent properties are recreational. Private visitors visit it. Security and weather erosion are moderate threats. Incompatible nearby development is a serious threat. Within cemetery land are multistory residential buildings and the entrance to the city park.

Lucja Pawlicka-Nowak, 11 Listopada St 15/76, 62 510 Konin, tel. 434356 completed this survey on August 21, and visited 21 August 1992 and October 12, 1992. Literature, maps in the archives, interviews and documentation at the PSOZ were used to complete the survey. Piotr Rybczynski, Konin Archive, was interviewed on September 20, 1992.

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 June 2009 12:30. " Accessed December 28, 2017